Sarawak Pakatan: MoF has given go-ahead to repair dilapidated schools

Sarawak Pakatan Harapan chairman Chong Chieng Jen speaks to reporters at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur April 8, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Sarawak Pakatan Harapan chairman Chong Chieng Jen speaks to reporters at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur April 8, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUCHING, Aug 27 — The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has issued an authorisation letter to the director-general of the federal Public Works Department (PWD) and the Sarawak’s PWD to proceed with repair works on dilapidated schools in the state, Chong Chieng Jen said today.

The Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman said a Surat Kuasa Pelaksanaan Project (SKPP) was issued on August 15 for them to start work on the run-down schools.

“It is clear that both the MoF and Ministry of Education (MoE) have given urgent and immediate attention and action towards fixing dilapidated schools,” he said when responding to the on-going debate on the dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

He said MoF has also given the green-light for repair works on dilapidated school to be undertaken by the state PWD and the state government.  

“Therefore, all the necessary clearance has been given to the state PWD  to carry out the repair works on these schools, that is, to call for open tenders, appointment of contractors and thereafter the supervision of the work,” he said.

Chong, who is also the deputy minister of domestic trade and consumer affairs, urged Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg to check with the state PWD and Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing, who is also the state minister of Infrastructure and Ports Development, before accusing Putrajaya of delaying repair works.

He noted that on August 5, MoF issued a letter authorising the MoE to carry out the preparatory work on the implementation of repairs on dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

He said it was done with the purpose to expedite the implementation of the repair works.

Chong also said the MoE had, on August 6, issued a letter informing the Ministry of Works to go ahead with preparation for the implementation of repair works.

“After confirmation of the receipt of the RM350 million payment from the state government on August 14, the MoF then issued a second letter to the MoE that the fund had been received,” he said, adding the letter requested MoE to take all necessary action for the implementation of the repair works.

Chong blamed the state of dilapidated schools in Sarawak on the neglect of both the Barisan Nasional federal and state governments.

He said the chief minister still owes the people of Sarawak an explanation as to why and how such a dire state of affairs could to transpire under BN’s ruling in Sarawak.

Chong urged the state govermnent to work together with the federal government for the general wellbeing of Sarawakians.  

“By bad-mouthing and sabotaging the federal government’s projects in Sarawak, the chief minister is in fact doing a great disservice to the people of Sarawak,” he alleged.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, in a statement yesterday, said the fixing of dilapidated schools in Sarawak had already started on August 5.

He had also said four special committees at the federal government level for the implementation and monitoring of the project had been ongoing since March 19 this year.

Lim also said the state Education Department had identified seven dilapidated schools which could be called for tender by yesterday while the remaining 30 schools were expected to be tendered by the end of this October.

Two days ago, during a town hall session in Lundu, Abang Johari had asked Putrajaya to immediately start fixing dilapidated schools in Sarawak in the interest of students and teachers.

In so doing, he claimed the state government has yet to receive any indication from the federal government as to when repairs would start, despite the state government repaying Putrajaya the first package of RM350 million out of RM1 billion meant to be used exclusively to fix dilapidated schools in the state.

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